Making a will is sensible and practical – you decide what will happen to your assets. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 Indians forget to make a will.
A will is a convenient and often simple and straightforward way to distribute assets to those you love. It is also a powerful way to help animals.
You can structure your will to make PETA India the beneficiary of a specific sum of money, an item or piece of property or a percentage of your estate or residuary estate (the part that remains after all specific legacies and expenses have been accounted for).
A will is one way to ensure that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. The failure to properly plan and express your wishes in a will or other estate document will mean that your assets will be distributed in accordance with the law when you pass, regardless of your intentions. Through a properly tailored will or other estate plan, you can ensure your compassion continues to make a difference for animals long after you are gone.
How to Make a Will
It is very easy to make a will. First, make a list of everything you own. Together, your house, car and other possessions could be worth a considerable amount.
A will has to be made in writing and signed by you in the presence of two witnesses (anyone over 18 is eligible to be a witness). The witnesses must sign the will to attest to the fact that they saw you sign it. You must choose and appoint an executor to ensure that the instructions in your will are carried out correctly.
It is recommended – but not required – that you consult a solicitor of your choice for assistance in drawing up a will.
The original copy of the will can be kept with you or your solicitor; it is recommended that your solicitor keep a copy. There are no legal formalities involved.
When to Make a Will
The sooner you make a will, the better – especially if you are married and have a family. Each spouse should make his or her own will.
Changing Your Will
You can make as many changes to your will as you want, as often as you want. Updates must be made in separate legal documents, which must be signed and witnessed in the correct legal manner.
You can also draw up a completely new will. If you remarry, you certainly should create a new will.
You should not attempt to change a will by crossing parts out, adding words or even attaching anything to it. Doing so could invalidate the document, defeating the whole purpose of making a will.
If you want to change your will in order to leave a bequest to a charitable organisation by means of a codicil, we recommend the following wording:
“This is [donor’s name] of [donor’s address]. I amend clause [number] of my previous will to leave PETA India, Post Box No 28260, Juhu, Mumbai 400049, [one of the following options].”
- “all the residue of my estate”
- “[a fraction (eg, a one-third share)] of my estate”
- “the sum of Rs [amount]”
- [clearly described items, such as necklaces, artefacts, furniture, a car with its license-plate number listed or a piece of property with its address listed]
The document will have to be signed and witnessed in the correct legal manner and attached to the will.
To request further information on legacies, please contact us at [email protected] or on 022-40727382.
This information is not legal advice, and is provided for general information purposes only. Readers in need of applicable professional advice are strongly encouraged to seek it.